Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources

PinExt Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources

artist painting Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources How creative are you?

Creativity is like a muscle.  We have to exercise it to know that we have any.  When was the last time that you gave your creativity a workout?

I used to think I wasn’t that creative.  It just wasn’t my thang.  I don’t play a musical instrument.  I don’t paint and I don’t write poetry.  I’m a Director of IT for crying out loud.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very logical, sequential, linear-based thinker.  Tests such as the one I found on the website of The Art Institute of Vancouver confirm that I am quite left-brain dominant.  Here are my results:

brain results Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources

Here’s where you can take their Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity Test for free.  Beyond just the percentages shown above, it also gives you a percentage breakdown of your right-brain and left-brain characteristics along with some very interesting and detailed explanations.  I was impressed.

The good news for me is that although I am left-brain heavy, my right-brain score shows some hope.  It isn’t completely dormant, but I certainly need to exercise it to reawaken my creative capabilities.

Why Creativity Is Important to Everyone

In the past, many people thought creative skills were purely for pleasure.  They thought that things like painting, acting, drawing and dancing were wastes of time once you were past a certain age.  After all, how were these things going to help you earn a living in an industrialized nation?

However, times are changing.  More and more often companies are looking for people that have a greater capacity for right-brain creativity.  The left-brain skills aren’t going away.  We still need computer programmers, accountants and engineers, but according to Daniel H. Pink in A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future organizations need:

  • Not just function but also DESIGN – It is not enough anymore to just create a product that works.  It must also be appealing to people.
  • Not just argument but also STORY – Think about it.  How are you sold cars nowadays?  They don’t dwell on features.  They tell you a story via the commercials.
  • Not just focus but also SYMPHONY – Instead of breaking things down for analysis, organizations need people that can synthesize disparate pieces of information to form the big picture.
  • Not just logic but also EMPATHY – Business leaders need to understand what makes people tick.  Companies want to build relationships with employees, customers and partners.
  • Not just seriousness but also PLAY – Lightheartedness is important to create the right culture that attracts and retains the right people.
  • Not just accumulation but also MEANING – Today’s organizations are about more than manufacturing a product.  They are also interested in being environmentally conscious, community-friendly and culturally-sensitive.

All of the above aptitudes are supported by the right-side of our brains.  If right-brain thinking is being demanded by the organizations that pay our bills, then it might be time to start taking this stuff seriously.  It might be time to try to reawaken our creativity.

Three Incredible Right Brain Resources

We were all pretty creative as children.  We were uninhibited back then, but somewhere along the way we were told to put those things aside to concentrate on “more important” things. 

We were led to believe that while our coloring pages were nice, they weren’t going to get us a job that paid enough to support a family or paid the mortgage.  So, we packed up the crayons and broke out the calculator.  We stuffed our creativity away like a box in the attic never to be seen again.

Well, now it’s time to find that old box, dust it off a little and see what’s inside.  We need to open up our creativity again.  It has been packed away for so long, that this isn’t really an easy chore.  I’ve been trying to do this myself lately and I’ve found a few resources that seem exceptionally helpful.

Here are three incredibly useful resources to open up your creativity:

1.  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

artists way Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources

This is by far the best place to start to unlock your inner artist.  We all have blocks due to the way that most of us have stuffed our creativity down inside over the years.

Cameron walks you through a detailed and intentional process to overcome all the old conditioning that impedes the creative skills that have been clogged up inside us for so long.

I’ve personally used this book and found it to be challenging, refreshing and artistically invigorating.  It doesn’t matter where your creative interests lie, I think you’ll find The Artist’s Way a very valuable resource to help you rediscover your artist within.

2.  The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence by Betty Edwards

drawing on right1 Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources

We need to retrain our brains to look at the world through new eyes with our right-brains instead our lefts.  This is the exact intention of Betty Edward’s classic drawing course.

Edwards explains that teaching people to draw is similar to teaching them to ride a bike.  It is a difficult thing to tell someone how to do.  How do you explain how to balance a bicycle?  It isn’t easy.  New riders just have to get a feel for it by practicing.

Well, it is very much the same with learning to use the right-side of your brain.  You can’t easily tell someone how to do it.  Instead, through the exercises she has perfected, Edwards walks you through it until you learn to see the world through the eyes of an artist.

3.  Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius

cracking creativity Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain ResourcesOnce we’ve started to open up our creativity again, then it is important that we learn to apply it in our personal and professional lives.  This is where Michael Michalko’s book excels.

Michalko points out that geniuses think productively instead of reproductively.  That is, they look for new, creative ways to solve problems instead of relying on what has worked in similar situations in the past.

He helps us to see paths to alternative ideas through exercises, techniques and resources designed to push our creative limits.  Again, I think you’ll find this book a terrific resource to help you expand your right-brain view of the world.

Working to Open Up My Creativity for Greater Success

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my journey toward opening up my creativity.  It has been a very rewarding and refreshing experience so far and I have even more plans beyond what I’ve done to date.  However, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what I’ve learned in hopes that it would benefit you as well.  I truly believe that unlocking some of our right-brain potential is paramount to living life to the fullest!

Do you have any other recommendations for resources I could use to unlock my creativity?  If so, please leave a comment below and let me know.  Thanks!

Photo by Greencolander

PinExt Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources

8 thoughts on “Opening Up My Creativity: Right Brain Resources

  1. Love Artist’s Way and have also read A Whole New Mind. My son is left handed…in some sense that book gave me an insight into why he’s different from me in his learning and relating styles. You should read The Creative Habit by Twyila Tharp. The title seems a little paradoxical, but to organized process thinkers, its a great approach.

    • Felecia – I’ll definitely have to check out The Creative Habit. It sounds like a good resource for me. Thanks for letting me know about it!

    • Sherri – I agree that the world needs great left brain thinkers too. However, I don’t necessarily see my right brain status as a weakness. I see it more as a dormant strength. One that I just haven’t fully explored and excercised. I imagine it to be like a muscle. I have it, but unless I use my right brain (which I haven’t all that much), then it becomes weak.

    • Tina – You should give the book a try. You will likely amaze yourself. I’ve always thought of myself as someone with no artistic skill, but I’m trying to overcome that self-limiting thinking. In fact, this weekend I’m taking a portrait drawing class for beginners. It ought to be interesting!

  2. Jeff, thanks for sharing these great resources. I have been more and more interested in the area of innovation and creativity. How can we increase our value and services to the world if we cannot be innovative? I personally have started making my way through the Artist’s Way workbook you recommend, and I strongly encourage everyone not to deprive themselves of this great resource. It promotes clarity in a very sacred and intimate way. Go for it, y’all!!
    .-= Steve-Personal Success Factors´s last blog ..Discover the Secret of Future Proofing Your Career =-.

  3. Great post. I like the books you recommended. I haven’t read Cracking Creativity so I’ll put that in my reading queue. Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is essential reading. I also recommend How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, by Michael J Gelb. I write backwards in my journal as a result of reading it.
    Joseph´s last [type] ..From Lunch to Landfill – A Short Film

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